Urdu phrasebook

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Urdu (اُردُو‬‎) is a living language of the Indian subcontinent, spoken by 100 million people world-wide. It is the national lingua franca of Pakistan and an official language of several India states. It is also often spoken and well understood in parts of the Middle East with large South Asian communities.
Urdu is closely related to various South Asian languages, especially Hindi; speakers of these two languages generally understand each other very well, which makes Hindi movies popular in Pakistan and Pakistani singers in India. However, Urdu has some vocabulary borrowed from Persian, Arabic, and Turkish which is not found in Hindi; these words are usually used at academic levels. Together, Hindi and Urdu are called the Hindustani language, and when combined, constitute one of the most spoken languages in the world and according to some estimates, ranke second or third. The writing systems of the two languages are completely different as Urdu is written in a modified version of the Persian and Arabic writing system known as Nast'alīq (نستعليق) and one who learns to read and write Urdu script can read and write Arabic and Persian to a great extent, whereas Hindi uses a totally different script, Devanagari, which is indigenous to India. Urdu is written right-to-left like Arabic or Persian, while Hindi is written left-to-right. Dakini is a dialect of Urdu with fewer Arabic and Persian loanwords and is spoken in the Muslim enclaves of the Deccan (India).
Urdu emerged during Muslim rule in Central and Southern Asia where Persian was the official language. The word Urdu is itself derived from the Turkish word ordu, ultimately derived from the Mongolian word "horde." In addition to vocabulary, Urdu also adopted the Persian use of the enclitic ezāfe and most poets used takhallus (noms de plume). Urdu is renowned for its poetic tradition dating back to Mughal times when, as mentioned, Persian was the court language; thus the reason why Persian vocabulary and elements are so notable. A mixture of Urdu and Hindi, called Hindustani, is the form heard in most Bollywood films, that try to appeal to the widest audience possible.

Pronunciation guide


Phrase list